Quit smoking, sounds so easy but we all know it’s really hard. All the facts can be there right in front of you…sick of smelling like an ashtray, want to show a good example for the kids or maybe you want to live a healthy happy more active life. The good news is there is so much help out there so it’s important not to give up after one try.
Now at risk of sounding like a Quit advertisement, I’ll skip the stuff I assume most of you who have tried to quit such as gums, patches or ‘cold turkey’ and give you some fresh advice.
The biggest problems with quitting any drug are that there are withdrawal symptoms and that may hold many back. Fear of gaining weight or being bad tempered to our family are major ones that come up with smoking cessation often. It helps to understand what is going on. Firstly, the nicotine in the cigarette stimulates sugar receptors of certain cells that respond to glucose which is why you feel more alert or awake when you smoke, so when you stop you may crave sugary sweets to give you that rush of energy. Bad temperedness comes from the Liver (as regular readers of mine know the Liver is responsible for Free Flow of emotions) and as the Liver has to do the hard work of detoxing your body, it understandably struggles to maintain equilibrium. So, you may get grumpy (like a hangover, just longer).
The Lungs deal with the emotions of grief and letting go may also release all those pent-up tears, but that’s ok…let them out and allow yourself the much needed relief that comes with such release. You will be stronger for it. Keep the exercise up as this will help you move through such emotions much quicker.
Acupuncture can help! There are a number of studies out there that show that acupuncture along with supportive education can increase you chances by 85%. A clinical trial published in Medical Journal of Australia (1982 Jan9;1(1)28-29) showed that 95% of 194 participants quit after 3 sessions, with 41% were still smoke free in 3 months. 84% said that acupuncture helped with withdrawal symptoms.
There has also been a host of research done on foods that assist in the repair the damage form cigarettes and reducing the cravings. When a craving hits, try nibbling on carrot sticks with hummus (optional) as carrots are high in carotenes that our body converts to Vitamin A that repairs oxidative damage from free radicals that are the major cancer causing components and also directly stop the desire to smoke. Celery also stops the craving too, as does oranges with the extra benefit of Vitamin C, it also repairs the free radical damage and instantly makes a cigarette taste terrible. Half an orange or a small juice will do.
Bananas have also had a lot of research conducted that shows the potassium also great for the heart muscle (the heart and lungs are intimately connected which is why heart and lung disease are the two most victims of smoking). They are also mucilaginous and soothe dry lungs.
Green Tea also helps as it makes them also taste terrible and clears toxins from the body and skin so the grey hue that reflects the tar in your lungs also clears leaving you looking younger and fresher.
Nuts and seeds especially sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts etc are great. They contain loads of vitamin E that also repairs oxidative damage, assists in skin healing and the lining of your lungs and reduce the cravings directly by assist in the production on important neurotransmitters that help you feel good.
Nevertheless, it is still important to support any attempt with reduction in coffee intake as it triggers the desire for a cigarette, drink lots of water to flush and cigs don’t go with water. Get outside for long walks to open those lungs and enjoy fresh air. Eating sunflower seeds are great to reduce cravings and try Hypnosis as well. Use a few tools rather than one can increase your success rate many times! Most importantly keep trying.
Until next time
Dr Angela Palmer
Kinglake Chinese Medicine